& # 39; Romantic & # 39; musician had no idea that he was carrying & # 39; more than 500kg of cocaine in a catamaran while sailing from Tahiti to Australia & # 39 ;, the court hears
- Craig Lembke is a talented flautist and saxophonist from New South Wales
- Accused of carrying 500 pounds of cocaine was hidden in a barrel
- Lawyer Peter Krisenthal said that Lembke had little interest in money
- The lawyer said that his client was only passionate about his music and sailing
- Lembke and his co-guilty pleas are not guilty of importing cocaine
After sailing a catamaran from Tahiti to Australia, an NSW musician claimed that he had no idea that more than 500 kilograms of cocaine had been hidden in the ship.
Defense lawyer Peter Krisenthal told a Newcastle District Court jury that talented flautist and saxophonist Craig Lembke would not have been interested in the alleged $ 500,000 payout to sail the medication to the NSW Central Coast within the double-tube hulls of the 13-meter catamaran Scarabej.
Mr Krisenthal said on Wednesday that Lembke had little interest in money and was only passionate about his music and sailing.
Craig Lembke (photo) is a talented flautist and saxophonist from New South Wales
Lembke, 49, from Mayfield East in Newcastle, and his co-accused, 36-year-old Daniel Percy from Western Australia, have been guilty of importing a commercial amount of cocaine.
Percy is accused of organizing the catamaran for the dispatch of drugs, but denies that he knows that the cocaine was on board.
Mr Krisenthal said that it was pointless for Lembke to run the risk of taking drugs to Australia because material wealth was not important to him.
& # 39; He is a bit of a dreamer. He is a bit romantic, & said the defense lawyer.
& # 39; He is a person who follows his passion. He is not a person driven by money. & # 39;
Percy is accused of organizing the catamaran (photo) for sending drugs, but denies knowing that the cocaine was on board
Mr Krisenthal said that the medicines were professionally separated in the catamaran and could not be seen with the naked eye.
He asked the jury if it was likely for someone like Lembke to commit such crime for $ 500,000.
But in his opening address to the jury, prosecutor Rob Ranken said that Lembke had been recruited by one of the organizers of drug dispatch who cannot be named for legal reasons.
The pure amount of cocaine in the 700 kg of white powder seized by the police was just 550 kg.
The 700 white bricks of a kilo were stamped with the logo of the television series ThunderCats.
Lembke knew the organizer – who later pleaded guilty and was imprisoned for his role in drug import – by the music scene in Newcastle.
Mr Ranken told the jury that Lembke, an experienced sailor, left with a friend on 17 October 2017 for Tahiti to sail the Scarabej to Australia.
He sailed into the port of Coffs on November 10 to meet with officers from the Australian Border Force to complete immigration formalities and get port-to-port permission to take the catamaran to Pittwater.
The pure amount of cocaine in the 700 kg of white powder seized by the police was just 550 kg
Lembke and his friend then left three days later and arrived the next morning at Lake Macquarie before docking at the Toronto Royal Motor Yacht Club.
Mr Ranken said that the drug dispatch organizer had met Lembke two months earlier in the musician's house to ask him to sail the Scarabej from Tahiti to Australia.
After the meeting, the organizer is said to have told a member of the drug syndicate – who cannot be named and will be locked up for his role later – & # 39; OK, he is participating & # 39; in a conversation recorded by the police.
Police were watching the Scarabej when the drug syndicate member boarded the catamaran on November 15 and began using electric tools to cut the hull to access the drugs after 9 o'clock.
Mr. Ranken said that a short time later Lembke traveled by rubber boat to the Scarabej and to the hull and looked inside the hatch before he left.
The public prosecutor said in a recorded conversation between Lembke and the member of the drug syndicate the night before that the musician spoke about how & # 39; this is all new to me & # 39; and asked if there were any concerns about undercover police officers.
The trial for Judge Jonathon Priestley will continue on Thursday.
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